While many people stayed home during the pandemic, Justin Brandt stayed busy.
His business, Custom Scapes, was abuzz those months, when many people opted to focus their time and attention on improving their home.
Now with high gas prices leading some to rethink travel, home improvement is likely to remain a hot item.
Brandt, one of dozens of exhibitors at this weekend’s Husker Lawn & Leisure Show, said he expects the increased interest in home improvement to continue for the next few years.
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Now is a good time to invest in landscaping, he said, because he expects prices will continue to rise.
“The sooner you do it, the better,” Brandt said. “Right now everything keeps going up, it seems.”
With COVID-19 cases on the decline and the promise of spring on the horizon, exhibitors at the 20th annual Husker Lawn & Leisure Show are hoping to draw people to the Lancaster Event Center beginning Friday.
The show returns for the first time in three years after COVID-19 concerns led organizers to cancel the event in 2020 and 2021.
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This year, 125 vendors are promoting everything from landscaping services to iron sculptures.
Paula Widholm, promotions manager of the event, said many local businesses rely on the show to connect with potential customers.
“The face-to-face marketing you get as a business owner trying to sell products or promote your business is very valuable,” Widholm said.
Though she has built long-standing relationships with exhibitors — several have been coming since the show’s first year — Widholm said there are many new faces at this year’s event. About 25% of the vendors are there for the first time.
Business owners Ken and Jackie Svoboda of Luxury Landscapes were at work Thursday, setting up their exhibit. Forming relationships with customers is their favorite part of the show, which runs through Sunday.
“We absolutely love showcasing what we can do,” Jackie Svoboda said. “Just visiting with customers … and hearing them say, ‘Wow, we love your booth. We want this in our backyard.’”